When Blue Planet turns into Blueberry Planet


God bless science – thanks to Anders Sandberg, a computational neuroscientist at the University of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute we now know what would happened if the ball of space rock we call our home was replaced by an equal sized ball of blueberries. And it’s muffin to laugh about:

Sandberg’s paper aims to answer the question, “What if the entire Earth was instantaneously replaced with an equal volume of closely packed, but uncompressed blueberries?” In doing so, Sandberg makes a key assumption: The Earth turns into “big, thick-skinned highbush blueberries” and not “wild, thin-skinned blueberries.”


That turns out to be a big deal: The bigger, thick-skinned blueberries would have a lot more space between them when Earth spontaneously transformed into the evenly spaced blueberry pile. And, in Sandberg’s model, that space would be filled with air — air that would start doing some very interesting things very quickly…


Perched on a mushy ground of free-rolling blueberries, you might notice a sensation in your gut like an elevator dropping as your weight dropped by 87 percent, Sandberg wrote. If you weigh 150 lbs. (68 kilograms) on normal Earth, you’d weigh about 20 lbs. (9 kg) on the far-less-dense blueberry planet, Sandberg said in the paper.


That soft, messy, low-gravity blueberry surface might be a fun place to hang out if it lasted. But, Sandberg said, things would start to change — fast.


All that air trapped between the blueberries would rush to the surface as the blueberry pile started to collapse into itself under its own gravitational pressure. Huge bubbles would burst from the surface, flinging matter into space even as the interior of the planet coalesced into a thick blueberry jam.


The effect of the geysers of bubbles combined with the collapsing planetary core would be “the worst earthquake ever,” Sandberg wrote. “And it keeps on going until everything has fallen [towards the center of the planet] 715 km [444 miles]. While this is going on, everything heats up drastically [by about 143 degrees along the Celsius scale or 258 degrees along the Fahrenheit scale, thanks to the gravitational energy release] until the entire environment is boiling jam and steam. The result is a world that has a steam atmosphere covering an ocean of jam on top of warm blueberry granita.”

Aren’t you glad you asked?

Related: What if the moon was really made of cheese?